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J Korean Med Sci. 1998 Feb;13(1):60-4.

The causative organisms of bacterial meningitis in Korean children, 1986-1995.

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Department of Pediatrics, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.


Bacterial meningitis remains a serious cause of morbidity and mortality in childhood. Epidemiologic investigations have shown variability in disease risks among different populations and races. In Korea, however, basic epidemiologic information on bacterial meningitis in children is limited. The main purpose of this study was to analyze bacteriologically proven meningitis cases in terms of the relative frequency of causative organisms, mortality rate, and age distribution beyond the neonatal period. Data was obtained from the hospital records who had been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis at 13 general or university hospitals from 1986 through 1995. The patients had at least one positive CSF culture for bacteria. Of 140 cases of CSF culture-proven bacterial meningitis, 46.4% was < or =1 year, 62.1% was < or =2 years, 81.4% was < or =5 years cumulatively. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most common bacteria responsible for 48 (35.0%) of all cases regardless of age, followed by Haemophilus influenzae for 48 (34.3%) and Neisseria meningitidis for 8 (6.4%) patients. The case fatality rate was 20.0%, 17.1%, and 16.7% for N. meningitidis, S. pneumoniae, and H. influenzae, respectively. In conclusion, the most common organisms of culture-proven bacterial meningitis in the last 10 years have been S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae, and N. meningitidis in order of frequency. Further study should be extended to nation-wide epidemiologic evaluation to show the incidence of bacterial meningitis caused by these three important organisms.

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